From Friday’s “All-Stars.”
On Obama’s judicial philosophy:
It’s true that whoever Obama appoints is not going to make any change in the balance of the court because Souter was a liberal, as liberal as you come.
But I thought what Obama said today was really remarkable when he said I want someone on the court who understands that justice isn’t about abstract legal theory. It’s about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives.
Now that is not only wrong, it’s deeply corrupting. The idea that you ought to be thinking about how the law affects the reality of someone’s life is something that you do when you are passing a law or create a law. That’s what you do if you are a member of Congress who represents people and their needs.
But once the law is passed, the only job a judge has is to interpret the law without consideration of a person’s standing in life. Otherwise you could never have, say, a bank foreclosing on a home, because who, after all, is more affected, a bank that might lose a few dollars, or a family that’s going to lose its home and future livelihood, et cetera?
The whole idea blinds a justice and the statutes that we have outside our courthouses of a blindfold over justice is that you do not look at a person’s station in life, their needs in life, requirements in life. It’s entirely about the law.
And for Obama to state the exact opposite openly as a way that will guide him in his appointments is quite radical.